Early voting levels in 25 states have surpassed those from four years ago, a sign of record-breaking voter participation in a midterm election year.
According to Michael McDonald, a University of Florida professor specializing in American elections, 24 states and the District of Columbia have surpassed their 2014 early vote totals, including Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.
On the whole, McDonald tweeted Thursday, more people have already early voted in 2018 than voted early in 2014 across the country.
We've passed a milestone in that more people (28 million) have voted early in 2018 election (by any means: absentee, mail ballot, in-person) than voted early in 2014 across the entire nation (27 million)
— Michael McDonald (@ElectProject) November 2, 2018
Perhaps most shocking, early voting numbers in Texas, where Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) has waged a competitive and closely-watched war against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), have surpassed the total number of ballots cast in 2014, including both the early vote and Election Day ballots.
According to McDonald, Nevada is set to surpass its 2014 voting totals Friday as well. The state also features a closely watched Senate race, where Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) is trying to stave off a competitive challenge from Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-NV).
While midterm turnout levels usually pale in comparison to presidential years, as of last week, according to a U.S. News and World Report story Monday, voters in Indiana have cast ballots on pace with early voting for the 2016 election, and in Minnesota, early voters have outpaced the early vote in 2016.
The outlet also reported Monday that in Georgia, which features one of the tightest gubernatorial races in the county, people are voting at three times the rate of the 2014 midterms.
With the possibility of taking back the House on the line, polls have found that Democrats have the enthusiasm edge in the midterms. In the days leading up to Election Day, however, President Trump and the GOP have been making a closing argument similar to the one they made in 2016, stoking racial divisions, touting a “middle class tax cut” with no basis in reality, and blaming Democrats for the recent fight over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
It’s impossible to make any conclusions about who high early voting totals help, though high turnout numbers have historically been beneficial for Democrats.